City gives Mobi bike-share program deferral on payments

Program slated to expand east to Commercial Drive by mid-2018

A Mobi by Shaw Go station on West 5th Avenue has several bikes available on a dry day in late November | Glen Korstrom

Vancouver’s bike-share program Mobi by Shaw Go received city council’s green light this week to expand east to Victoria Drive starting in mid-2018.

It is a $3 million expansion that Mobi parent Vancouver Bike Share Inc. will contribute $2 million toward. TransLink, through its Bicycle Infrastructure Capital Cost Sharing (BICCS) program, will contribute $1 million. 

The City of Vancouver has also given Mobi a deferral on having to pay approximately $1 million in revenue to the city to 2018 from 2017, according to a November 17 emailed statement from the city's communications department.

The City of Vancouver does not own Mobi but its consent on the expansion was required because it administers the system. Vancouver Bike Share Inc. is a subsidiary of the private company Cyclehop.

The bike-share program owes its existence, however, to the City of Vancouver, which pumped $5 million into capital costs to get the bike-share program started in 2016. It also contributed $1 million for various other startup costs and agreed to provide an additional $500,000 per year for each of the first five years.

The city has since created a five-person bike-share branch that co-ordinates with Mobi around where to locate stations, that branch’s manager, Scott Edwards, told BIV earlier this year.

Edwards had told BIV that he expected the 25-employee Mobi to pay the city $400,000 this year to compensate the city for lost parking revenue. That payment appears to have been deferred.

The initial roll-out of stations were in an area bounded by the downtown peninsula, Arbutus Street, Main Street and 16th Avenue. Stations then were built a block or two west and east of that grid. The new grid will continue to have 16th Avenue as a southern boundary with other boundaries being Victoria Drive, Burrard Inlet and Vine Street.

Mobi does not reveal its own financial information.